Inspired to Become the REAL ME!

A week ago, on Jan. 14, I decided to become the real me. I’m really excited to let the real me blossom and to get to know her again. Nice to meet you: healthy, active and vibrant Ali!

I’ve been trying since Jan. 1, 2010 to become the person I want to be. If you look in the archives of this blog, you’ll see I’ve been on and off again at writing about my health journey since the summer of August, 2013.

Before I go on, I must tell you that starting this blog was thanks to a good friend of mine, Susan Kuz (you can find out more about her and how amazing she is at teaching/coaching people and organizations at beingpukka). She encouraged me to share my ideas about eating healthy foods, even though I didn’t think I was “good enough” to do so because I hadn’t yet achieved my own health goals. Well, I wasn’t perfect, and I realized that was ok. Thanks, Susan!

So, feel free to join me on my imperfect journey.

I’ve learned over years how each of us is on a journey to health, our own customized journey.  Even if you’re at your perfect weight and feel your health is ideal, you continue on your journey each day, month and year that passes. Health isn’t achieved, and then, “Ta da!” we check off that box on our To Do list. Being healthy today doesn’t mean you’ll be healthy tomorrow unless your journey of seeking health continues.

Ok. Back to the future real me. I have a vision of that person; it isn’t about weight and size, but more about lifestyle. By living a lifestyle I see as healthy and most beneficial for me physically and mentally, I will feel good, and as a by-product, naturally lose the extra 40-50 pounds weighing me down. I’ll have energy in my body and my mind.

I am 52 years old, and 5’ 6”. I’m not sure what my ideal weight is, but I feel confident I’ll know it when I get there based on how I feel. I look forward to the discovery.

What led to my decision to find the real me? A few things:

  • I am close to my highest weight.
  • I veered off course the last few months, eating unhealthy food on a regular basis.
  • I feel slow, unhealthy and fat.
  • My clothes are tight.
  • I feel uncomfortable in my own body.
  • I felt inspired after listening to a Rich Roll podcast where he interviewed Charlie Jabaley, who lost a whole bunch of weight and turned his life around.

I was inspired by the podcast, but it wasn’t the first time I felt determined to seek health. Each time I’m excited by a book, article, video, podcast or conversation, it kick-starts my energy, desires and motivation about things that are important to me.

Who is the Real Me?

  • Physically healthy and vibrant
  • Mentally strong and energetic
  • At an ideal/comfortable weight for my body

That’s it. Sounds like something most of us want, but at the same time, it seems impossible to achieve. Of course it’s not impossible, but it’s challenging. For many of us, life gets in the way. But that’s not really true. We allow life to get in the way.

Ok. Here’s my plan, ‘cause I’ve got to have a plan.

I need to remind myself every single day about who I want to be. About the person I want to become. I can see her:

  • She rises in the morning with energy
  • She eats food for fuel and doesn’t obsess about food
  • She eats real, whole food that is as close to its natural form as possible, most of the time
  • She eats a plant-based diet, most of the time
  • She consumes alcohol infrequently (once a week or so)
  • She exercises for joy, fitness and energy at least 3-5 times a week (walking, running and whatever else feels good)

Ok…so now I know what I want and I know what I want to be doing. What next? This is the wall that many of us run into. HOW CAN I DO THIS?

Let’s get back to that inspiration I was talking about for a minute. I’m not saying I feel a little inspiration to eat better and get healthy. I am inspired to make my own personal transformation.  

It’s beyond making changes. I’ve tried that. A complete lifestyle overhaul is in order.

Uh oh…there’s that fear creeping into the conversation. Did you feel it?

  • Fear that it will be difficult
  • Fear that I don’t really want to live without the unhealthy foods
  • Fear that I will fail again
  • Fear that I will start something but not finish it all the way through and be consistent
  • Fear that I can’t do it myself

Wait a minute. Did I just say “can’t?

I deeply believe people can accomplish anything they want.  I really do, to my core. Within reason. Can I lose 20 pounds in 5 days without cutting off some limbs? Not realistic.

So, if I believe other people can accomplish almost anything they really want, and if that is one of my core beliefs, then of course I can do it. There is no can’t. My life is up to me.

How empowering! Let me just soak that in for a minute. I CAN do it. I have the POWER to be the real me! WOW!!

Having true power also means if I don’t transform myself, it’s because I choose not to. When I’m faced with obstacles, will I choose to push forward to find the real me, or will I give in to the easy, familiar route?

The funny thing is that there are people who don’t know what to do to successfully lose weight, get healthy and live an active lifestyle. But I DO know what to do. I know exactly what to do, and it works!

So why don’t I do it, consistently? I’ve tried many times to make a change. I’ve had some successes.

I think it’s the lifestyle. My husband and I spend a lot of our free time together, and we have the same interests. Our energies are focused on “relaxing”, whether we do it at home or in a restaurant. It involves food, often wine or martinis and if we’re at home, Netflix. Well, that doesn’t sound like the healthy energy-filled lifestyle I want, does it?

My husband and I do a lot of talking. We make a lot of “we should” plans. We start and then we fall back into our familiar routine and fizzle out. We lose weight together. We gain weight together.

For true success, I need to decide what I want. I need to want it so bad that even when I’m stressed, or angry or feeling low or when temptations and influences pop up, I still commit to finding the real me.

Like I said, I’ve had successes before. I lost 14 lbs in two weeks eating real plants without any added crap (sugar, oil, processed food, animal products). With no exercise! I didn’t starve myself either. I was eating mashed potatoes almost every day with a yummy plant-based, very low-fat mushroom gravy. The food tasted great! It really worked while I was committed.

In 2017 I was consistently plant-based for 7.5 months. I was very proud of myself during those months, and I thought I had it mastered.

In the summer of 2017 my husband and I did a 15-day water fast. It was difficult, but I learned a lot about my body and about what I want in life. Sure, I dropped over 20 lbs, but that’s not a realistic weight loss. My body cleaned out a lot of crap, but I didn’t continue afterwards with a healthy diet. I went back to my old ways when I allowed stress to be my master.

A couple of years ago, I ate only raw foods for four weeks. I felt terrific, and I think doing such a cleanse can really help you clean out. It can also be a good kick-start to weight loss, but it’s not sustainable.

I’ve had other successes too; they just didn’t stick.  Eventually, I fell back into my old ways because I didn’t fully commit to transforming myself. I was still hanging on to the lifestyle.

I KNOW WHAT to do. I KNOW I can do it.

It’s been a week since I started my personal transformation.

I’m doing well so far! Down a few pounds and I feel terrific. I am sleeping better and already have more energy each day. I feel happier too. Happier because I feel good and because I’m excited about the future.

I FEEL GREAT and can’t wait to see how things turn out.

Wish me luck on my journey, and of course, I wish you health and success on your own journey.

SignatureAli

Loving My Plants

I’ve been plant-based (attempt # ?) since Jan. 4, 2017.

Can you see the smile on my face?

I’m proud of myself because I’ve been trying, since Jan. 2010, to be fully plant-based.

I think this time, I’m more aware of the injustices happening to animals. I don’t want to contribute to animal cruelty.

Wish me well on my continued journey; and I wish you well on whatever journey you may be traveling.

Alison 🙂

Day 6 Plant Eating Challenge

I am three pounds down, since I began this plant eating challenge.

Today was successful! I took a day of rest from exercising in the am. I will be up tomorrow, before 6 a.m. to ensure I keep on track and continue with development of the habit of getting up early and working out.

I had my two smoothies, leftover stoup (soup/stew) for lunch, as well as some orzo pasta and broccoli (may have been oil in that).

I had a banana for a late afternoon snack; for dinner: two baked potatoes with horseradish and a bowl of cooked corn/green beans. Nothing fancy…just fuel for the body.

Not much to write today…I just want to keep my posts regular for accountability’s sake.

Day 4 and 5 Plant-Eating Challenge

My daughter and I are both still on track with our Plant Eating Challenge, and we feel great.

I had my usual two smoothies, yesterday and today, and I worked out in the am both days. Pat on the back for me!

Lunch was the usual reheated homemade yumminess (stew, soup or stoup, or is stewp better?…a combo). I did have a little bit of pasta with tomato sauce-this is not the ideal food as it is processed, and not made from a whole grain. Also, there was probably oil and sugar in the sauce.

For dinner tonight I made two dishes. My meals are always…”how fast can I make this?” I am usually a wingin’ it kind of cook.

Dish #1: Chunky/Creamy Broccoli Soup

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Ingredients (measurements are not exact)

  • 3 cups chopped broccoli florets with some of the stem
  • 1.5 cups organic veggie broth
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup homemade rice milk
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Most recipes call for sauteeing this, and blah, blah blahing that…I’m too impatient. I just put all the ingredients into a pot and heat until the broccoli is cooked. Then, into the blender for a few spins. Back into the pot, to simmer while the flavours blend. Then I add 3 cooked potatoes; chop them up, skin and all. Add a bit of salt/pepper or some nutritional yeast, and voila! A hearty soup. This would work really well with cauliflower too…hmmm…I’m getting ahead of myself.

Dish #2: Rice with Asian Mushroom Sauce

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Ingredients (measurements not exact)

  • Variety of mushrooms (about4- 6 cups chopped)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 cup cornstarch blended in 3/4 cup water
  • 2 green onion stalks
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger

Instructions: Place 1 cup water into large sautee pan. Turn heat to high. Throw in the mushrooms for about 2 minutes, and then turn heat down to med-high. Let mushrooms cook for several minutes. Add sauces and spices. Add water/cornstarch mixture. Stir over medium heat, continuously for about 2 minues. Add green onions. Throw over a bowl of rice, or eat as a delicious soup on its own.

After dinner, I ejoyed a couple of glasses of red wine. Yum But, I wonder, how will this interfere with my energetic healthy feeling I have been living for the past few days?

Here are some things that are helping me succeed on this Plant Eating Challenge

1. After reading The Monk who Sold his Ferrari, I found the author’s videos on Youtube. Super inspiring. They help me to:

  • have less stress
  • procrastinate less
  • push myself to do more (5 more crunches, mark 3 more papers etc)
  • have more control of my thoughts

…all which result in me feeling better. This helps me to make better choices.

2. Getting up Early 

This can be a tough one, but here is what works for me. Last week, I decided I would get up before 6:30 a.m. each day. This week, I have been up before 6:00 a.m. each day. Now, I moved pretty quickly. Anyone could try this by changing more slowly. For example, if you get up at 7:00 a.m., and you really want to be getting up at 6:00, then start week 1 with a 6:50 a.m. time to rise. The next week, go to 6:40 a.m., and so on. It really works. Next thing you know, you have an extra hour, every day to work out, write, read, research, mediate, take time for you etc.

Hoping your journey is healthy.

Day 2 Plant Eating Challenge

How did I do yesterday? Pretty darn good…except for the plain Ruffle chips (my fave!) with some Helluvadip (another fave). We were visiting someone, and I gave in.

I did have homemade sushi. I actually made sushi! I just gave it a whirl, and it was a big hit. I put the seaweed on my cutting board, and scooped brown rice on top, spreading it out. Then on one end, I put some cucumber strips with avocado strips and rolled it. No added sauces, or anything. It was easy…you just need to remember to moisten the last bit of seaweed, after it is almost rolled, so it will stick when completing the roll.

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Oh, and my daughter and I also made some snacks for her to take to school: date bars! We mixed 1 cup of soaked pitted, mashed dates with 1/2 cup of raw cashew pieces and 1/4 cup of raw sunflower seeds. We rolled half the mixture in balls and the other half, we experimented with bar sizes. The picture below shows less than we made because my daughter ate some of it…she couldn’t resist.

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Oh, I almost forgot, we also made kale chips! I only have a before picture. I put a whole bunch of kale, broken up in pieces and with the stems removed, into a big bowl. I put only one teaspoon of oil in my hands and then squeezed my hands around all the pieces of kale. Then, a little sprinkle of sea salt, and pop in the oven. I am still perfecting the time, but these were done at 400 degrees for 4 minutes, then flipped/tossed and put back in for another 4 minutes. I found a few a bit too dry, so next time I will try 4 min. and then 3 min.

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My daughter loves these!

 

Today? Was super awesome!

I started the day with a 20 min. run on the treadmill (I do HIIT: warm up for 2 min., then run super fast for 30 seconds and cool down in a jog for 90 seconds, then I repeat until I have only 2 minutes left, and then, cool down).

I had two green smoothies (swiss chard, spinach, arugula, bananas, frozen pineapple and water): one for breakfast and one for an afternoon snack.

My lunch was a homemade stew that I’ve been making a lot lately. It has water, organic veggie broth, carrots, celery, onion, potato, brown rice pasta and herbs/spices. Add a bit of salt and pepper, and I am in heaven!

For dinner, I had baked sweet potato fries, that were every so slightly sprayed with canola oil. I have to figure out a way to make these without oil. I guess I should just try a small sweet potato and see what happens.

To go with the sweet potato, I had a little mixture I wrapped up in half a swiss chard leaf (mashed chickpeas, mango, cilantro and sea salt).

My daughter was craving some ice cream, so we made the healthy vegan version in a blender: frozen bananas, frozen blueberries and a little bit of rice milk (homemade: 1 cup rice blended with 3 cups water, and then strained through a fine strainer, twice, or with cheesecloth). yum!

We forgot to take pictures…oh well.

After prepping food for the week (two stews, rice and sushi), I got on the treadmill again..only for 10 minutes, but it felt great!

Day 1 Plant Eating Challenge

This is it…I am making a public declaration that I want to eat a Whole Foods Plant-based (WFPB) Diet.

This is really scary because now I can’t try it, and then just give up. Instead of keeping it to myself, I am putting it out there!

And…my 13 year-old daughter is doing this with me!

Let’s be clear. I don’t mean “diet”…I mean lifestyle: a permanent change in how I eat.

I have attempted this many times. I usually go through phases of doing really well, and then I get off track and find myself eating cheese (a true love of mine).

My goals:

  1. Write on my blog about my experience at least once a week, preferably more.
  2. Be consistent: stick to it.
  3. Go one week at a time
  4. Continue until at least the middle of December, before the holidays.
  5. Continue further, so I can turn 50 in 2015, and feel terrific!

What will I Eat?

1. Whole Foods (the WF in WFPB)

Foods that are not processed, especially if they are highly processed. Even things like veggie burgers are out. Have you ever looked at the endless list of ingredients in these things? Yuck!

I will process my own foods with a tool like my Blentec high-speed blender. I will eat salt, spices/herbs, as well as the odd condiment that is not filled with sugar or fat, such as:

  • Horseradish
  • Mustard
  • Frank’s hot sauce

Occasionally, I will use a low-sodium soya sauce or a low sodium vegetable broth.

2. Plants (the PB in WFPB)

  • Vegetables, including greens
  • Fruit
  • Starch: potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash
  • Grains: whole grains like rice and quinoa
  • Legumes: peas, chickpeas, black beans, lentils etc.
  • Nuts/Seeds: only small amounts (they are high in fat, of which excess in the body is harmful, even if they are good fats)

Ok, so I will eat whole foods, that are plant-based.

3. Off-limit Foods

    Oil: it is a fractured food, not existing in nature and is highly processed. Now, I will occasionally use oil in a very small amount if I feel I have no other options. For example, I do not how to make kale chips without a little oil.

    Coffee: I actually gave up coffee in February of this year, so that is not an issue. I weaned myself off over about a week’s time. No headaches!

    Sugar: this is out too. What a dangerous culprit. This won’t be too difficult, because if you look at my food list above, none of them have added sugar, only natural sugars already found in the food. Sugar is mainly found in processed food, so if I stick to whole foods, this one shouldn’t be troublesome.

4. Alcohol: Ok, this is a tough one…I really enjoy a nice glass of red wine, or two. I haven’t fully decided where I am at with this one. I will continue to drink wine, but I will likely put an effort toward noticing how much or how often I have it. It is still a sugar.

 

Break the Food Addiction

I feel great!

Starting at the beginning of this month, I decided to refocus my efforts toward eating the way I really want to eat: whole foods that are plant-based that are also raw and low in fat.

I was very successful to start, and then enjoyed a weekend away and indulged. But here is the thing. I was super irritable for the 2-3 days that followed. I was low in energy and honestly, almost felt a bit depressed.

I am a big fan of The Biggest Loser and watched a recent episode. It gave me the kickstart to get out of that funk. The next day, I got back on track.

For the last seven days, I have stuck to my commitment 100%. For the last seven days, I have used my treadmill once or twice in a day.

How I feel:

Wow! Energized. Pumped to run on the treadmill as soon as I get home-I even look forward to it. My whole body feels lighter and I feel happier.

Why the success? Here is my theory.

With all the junk in food (mainly fat, sugar and salt), we truly get addicted to the food consumed in everyday society. We crave it. No wonder it is so difficult to stop eating it.

So, I realize that when I go on a food “bender”, I still want that food when I’m done, when I decide it’s time to get back on track! But I can’t do it because it is very difficult. I want more chips and more cheese! I don’t want to eat it, so I struggle mentally and feel stressed out!

Not worth it!

Even though I feel great, and at day seven of continuously eating beautiful plants that are raw…at some point soon, I’ll be faced with a food I have loved always: chips…or…cheese.

 chips              cheese2

What will I do? The saying, “A moment on the lips…a liftime on the hips.” is starting to sink in.

If I eat those things, I’ll have seconds or minutes of pleasure through my taste buds, but then, what will follow is not appealing at all! Sluggish feeling, being irritable etc. I will feel like crap.

Although there are people out there who eat the way I am eating, and have done so for years, it is difficult for me, at this early stage, to see me eating this way for years and years without breaking down in some social situation and eating crap.

Why is it so hard for me to picture myself eating well for many years? Because I have not been successful, long-term, EVER before!

I feel like I am beating the food addiction that has trapped so many of us in a terrible diet cycle. My commitment feels more solid now, since I understand that I can’t look at weekends as “cheese time” if I want to adopt a healthy lifestyle, long term.

I think I’m getting closer to the true me that I want to be. Yippee!

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